Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega
In my opinion, this fight is one of the most intriguing of 2018 thus far.
Edgar, the former lightweight champion, has put together back-to-back victories since losing a rematch to Jose Aldo for the 145-pound title in July 2016.
A well-rounded fighter, “The Answer” comes from a decorated wrestling background, but he’s blended that very well with a strong boxing game, incredible cardio, and great footwork.
On the feet, he mixes up his combinations well, never stops moving and typically puts a relentless pace on his opponents. Edgar also flows well between punches, leg kicks, and takedowns.
On the ground, Edgar only has four submission victories to his credit, but he owns a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and will need to make sure his submission defense is on point for this bout.
Ortega has made a name for himself by scoring five straight UFC victories and he may very well be the best submission artist in the division.
A black belt under Rener Gracie, seven of Ortega’s 13 professional victories have come by way of submission. He quickly pounces on any opportunity to lock up a hold and if the fight goes to ground, he may have the advantage over Edgar.
Despite his high-level grappling pedigree, Ortega has rounded out his striking game. Having shown the ability to switch stances, Ortega puts his punches together nicely and also utilizes damaging uppercuts and knees.
However, his striking defense has been a bit questionable.
Ultimately, I could see this fight going either way.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ortega keep his momentum going and it’s certainly possible that he could lock up another submission. However, Edgar has been in this position before when he’s been matched up against rising contenders.
I believe that “The Answer” will prove that there are levels in the fight game and use his experience and well-rounded skill set to pick apart Ortega on his way to a victory.
Prediction: Frankie Edgar def. Brian Ortega via unanimous decision